Star Wars Lightsaber << Part 2 >> Maya Modeling Tutorial



The Lightsaber tutorial is a simple entry level Autodesk Maya modeling tutorial  and assumes that you have basic navigational and editing skills prior to attempting this tutorial. 

imageNow let’s start making the handle.  

I divided the Lightsaber into seven sections and each section we will model separately. I have a modeling rule of thumb, if it is separate in the real world model it separately. This is just a general rule, but it keeps the geometry cleaner and can solve a lot of modeling issues.

Make the Emitter Matrix. Trace the right side of the Lightsaber's Emitter Matrix with the EP Curve Tool then we will revolve the curve to create the Emitter Matrix. From the main menu, choose the EP tool’s option box Create > EP Tool . Change the Curve Degree to 1 Linear. This allows you to create straight angular lines.
First of all, zoom in close so you can see all the details of the emitter. Starting from the center top part of the Emitter Matrix draw the contour of the right side – it is the red curve. Try to stay in the middle of the red line for consistency. Hold down the {shift} key to lock the curve tool to 45 & 90 degree angles. For this piece you can hold shift down until you complete the entire part – it is all 90 degree angles. Take your time and try to do it all in one pass. Notice I am in the center of the red line.
Grd_SnapBefore you revolve it, lets make sure the first and last point are snapped to 0 on the X axis.  It is very important that you snap the first and last vertex to the origin.  If it is not the geometry may overlap or a hole could be created at the top and/or the bottom. 
RT_MouseButtonSwitch to vertex mode - Right mouse click (RMB) on the curve and choose Control Vertex.
Select the very first vertex on the top and switch to the Move Tool.  Select the X or red handle on the move tool, this constrains it to move only in the X-direction.  The handle now turns yellow.  Move your mouse to where you want to go, hold down the {x} key and press the middle mouse button and wiggle over where you want the vertex to snap to. towards center line or 0 on the grid. *Repeat for the last point on the curve.     By holding down the {X} key it will snap to the grid.  
Switch to the Surfaces Menu Set {F4}, select the new curve and open the revolve tool option box Surfaces > Revolve.
Untitled-18 In the Revolve Options, change the following settings. Change the number of divisions to 36, this will produce a fairly smooth revolve. I used 36 because we will extrude six nubs at the base of the Lightsaber later and 36 is divisible by 6. We will be working entirely in Polygons for this project, switch Output Geometry to Polygons. Switch Tessellation Method to Control Points, this sets up the revolve to only create edges where you place vertices on your curve. Then press Apply to revolve.
Segments: 36
Output Geometry: Polygons
Tessellation Method: Control Points
Your Emitter Matrix should look something like this, it maybe in wireframe or solid. You can toggle between wire frame and solid by pressing {4} (wire frame) or {5} (solid). Press {5} now.

It should look something like this.

For the most part, everything has some kind of beveled edge. The table in front of you table has a very defined beveled edge. The keyboard keys have more of a micro-bevel. Look around you at various objects and their edges. How does the light react with the edges? We are going to bevel parts of the Lightsaber giving it more of a realistic look. Beveling an objects edges plays with how the light reacts with it and gives it the illusion of more depth. 
RT_MouseButtonTo bevel an edge, you must right click (RMB) on the object and switch to Edge mode using the pop-up menu. Once you are in the Edge mode you can select any edge you want then bevel it. In this case, we are going to select one from each horizontal ring and use another tool to select the rest for us or you can just manually select them all. Ha! To select multiple edges at one time, hold down the {shift} button and continue to select.
Since we have a continuous ring of edges, a faster way to select them is to select an edge a number of edges, {CTRL RMB}, chose the Edge Loop Utilities > To Edge Loop.  This will select all the edges in this loop.  OR double click on a edge and it will automatically select the entire ring unless it is not a complete ring. 
RT_MouseButtonAt this time, I also generally assign a Blin material, this help to see the bevel results. Lets change the material to one that adds a specular highlight. The material by default will be Lambert, change it to Blin.  Right click (RMB) on the mesh and choose Assign New Material > Blin.
Switch to the Polygons Menu Set {F3} then choose Edit Mesh > Bevel.

For this project we will:

  • Switch Offset Type: to Absolute, I prefer using Absolute because no matter how large or small a edge is, a beveled edge with a width of 0.02 will be the same size.
  • Set the Segments to 2, setting it to 2 will keep the bevel tight after smoothing.
  • Initially the width 0.02, this will change how wide or thick the bevel is.


Anytime you bevel an edge, history can be associated with it. Meaning, if you do not like how the bevel looks you can still change it after the fact.


Repeat for Lens Assembly (green)

Untitled-14 Untitled-9

Plate Separator (blue).
Untitled-17 Untitled-10

Rrepeat for the Crystal Focusing Shaft (light Blue), but notice it doesn't end back at 0.
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Skip the Handgrip for now, we will work on that later.


Also repeat for the Crystal Focusing Shaft (Blue), but notice it doesn't end back at 0.
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